Breakfast daily, 6 lunches, 11 three-course dinners including a farewell dinner in Vancouver
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description, including admission charges where applicable.
Day 1 ARRIVE IN VANCOUVER, BC
Welcome to Vancouver, your gateway to the Canadian Rockies! At 6 pm, meet your traveling companions for a welcome drink. Your Tour Director will prepare you for your upcoming adventure.
Day 2 VANCOUVER–VICTORIA
This morning, tour Vancouver, including the waterfront, Chinatown, and Stanley Park with its old-growth evergreen forests and totem poles. Catch the BC FERRY over to Vancouver Island and Victoria. Visit world-famous BUTCHART GARDENS, followed by a special dinner in the former historic greenhouse overlooking the gardens. See major attractions on your city orientation tour, including the Fairmont Empress Hotel, Bastion Square, and Thunderbird Park.
Day 3 VICTORIA
This day is free to explore on your own; your Tour Director suggests an optional wildlife and whale-watching trip. For shoppers, Government Street’s elegant shops and Market Square’s collection of specialty stores are good places to start. History buffs should be sure to visit the Royal British Columbia Museum.
Day 4 VICTORIA–WHISTLER
Today, board a BC FERRY and cross the Strait of Georgia through the spectacular Gulf Islands, an archipelago known for its Mediterranean-type climate. On to the alpine resort of Whistler, nestled at the base of breathtaking Blackcomb Mountain. There’s time today to explore many of the 2010 Winter Olympics’ sites.
Day 5 WHISTLER
Today is free to explore all that Whistler has to offer. You might enjoy a trip on Whistler’s Peak2Peak Gondola, connecting Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. Enjoy spectacular scenery and incredible photo opportunities by exploring the village on foot, including a walk to beautiful Alta Lake. Other options include a walk in the tree tops, a sightseeing excursion by air, shopping in the village, or just relaxing at your resort.
Day 6 WHISTLER–SUN PEAKS
This morning, enjoy a visit and private breakfast at the SQUAMISH LIL’WAT CULTURAL CENTRE, dedicated to the history and culture of the First Nations people. Then, journey north through the heart of the magnificent Cariboo region. Stop at SHANNON FALLS, where a boardwalk leads to a viewing platform near the base of the roaring falls. Spectacular scenery abounds as you pass by rolling hills, deeply incised rivers, and sparkling lakes. Afternoon arrival in Sun Peaks, with the balance of the day at leisure. You may take advantage of an optional canoe trip on Lake McGillivray, where, surrounded by beautiful scenery, you learn about Canada’s fur trade. NOTE:Operation of the canoe trip is subject to favorable weather conditions.
Day 7 SUN PEAKS–JASPER
Continue north, following the Yellowhead Highway and hugging the mighty North Thompson River into the province of Alberta. See the base of 12,972-foot Mount Robson (the highest point in the Canadian Rockies) before entering JASPER NATIONAL PARK. Marvel at the precipitous gorges, snowcapped summits, and lakes of exquisite blues and greens in this wild mountain wilderness. Perhaps take an optional float trip down the historic Athabasca River, where your experienced guide will navigate as you absorb the splendor of Jasper National Park.
Day 8 JASPER. EXCURSION TO MALIGNE LAKE
Enjoy a short sightseeing tour to see Jasper’s unspoiled beauty. Afterward, travel to glacial Maligne Lake for a narrated CRUISE to Spirit Island. On the return journey, stop to view Maligne Canyon. Balance of the day is at leisure to explore Jasper on your own.
Day 9 JASPER–COLUMBIA ICEFIELD–LAKE LOUISE–BANFF
This morning, travel through Jasper National Park on Icefields Parkway to the 750-foot-thick Columbia Icefield for a thrilling ICE EXPLORER RIDE. Climb Sunwapta Pass to savor stunning vistas of alpine meadows, waterfalls, and massive glaciers, then scale Bow Pass for splendid views of Peyto Lake. Next, stop at Lake Louise, whose green-blue waters form a perfect mirror reflection of Mount Victoria. Continue into BANFF NATIONAL PARK. NOTE:The May 3 & 17, and July 26 departures will enjoy overnights at the luxurious Rimrock Resort Hotel, nestled in the mountains 750 feet above Banff, offering exceptional views, fine dining, and an enjoyable location near the Upper Hot Springs and the Banff Gondola.
Day 10 BANFF
Breakfast this morning is served on top of Sulphur Mountain. Take a scenic ride on the BANFF GONDOLA to the top of the mountain and then enjoy spectacular views of the valley below as you savor a flavorful meal. Additional sightseeing in Banff includes a visit to Bow Falls. The balance of the day is at leisure. Consider an optional helicopter flightseeing trip for a bird’s-eye view of the Rockies. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant this evening.
Day 11 BANFF–YOHO NATIONAL PARK–GLACIER NATIONAL PARK–KELOWNA
This morning, depart Banff and scale Kicking Horse Pass across the Continental Divide into British Columbia and Yoho National Park. Next, enjoy panoramic vistas of peaks exceeding 10,000 feet on Rogers Pass at the summit in Canada’s Glacier National Park. Descend into the agricultural region of the Okanagan Valley to the resort city of Kelowna. Tonight, why not enjoy a wine tasting or dinner at one of Kelowna’s many restaurants.
Day 12 KELOWNA–VANCOUVER
Today, continue through the fertile Fraser Valley, with grand vistas of vineyards and orchards, before traveling over the towering Cascade Mountains into Vancouver. Upon arrival, enjoy some time at leisure. This evening, your Tour Director hosts a farewell dinner.
Day 13 VANCOUVER (EMBARKATION)
Embark Holland America’s MS Volendam.
Day 14 SCENIC CRUISING: INSIDE PASSAGE
Sit back and relax as you cruise through the beautiful and awe-inspiring scenery of the Inside Passage. Keep your cameras ready for spouting whales, soaring eagles, barking seals, and other wildlife.
Day 15 TRACY ARM & JUNEAU
This narrow, 26-mile-long fjord is another of Alaska’s most dramatic glacier settings. The lush rainforest recedes to reveal a stunning canyon of bare rock. The panorama of 7,000-foot mountain peaks and nearly vertical rock cliffs is astounding. Waterfalls appear at every turn. Icebergs make their way to the sea in all sorts of wondrous shapes. And tucked away at the end of this remarkable waterway are two very active reminders of the Ice Age—the twin Sawyer Glaciers, which calve icebergs into the jade-colored inland sea. Kittiwakes, mountain goats, and seals are a common sight. Whales and bears may even make an appearance in this magical place. Visit one of the most remote capital cities—Juneau. Accessible only by air and water, Juneau is located at the base of two towering mountains in the heart of Alaska’s Inside Passage, and is home to a rich Gold Rush history, Native culture, wildlife, and a wealth of natural wonders. Shop for gold nuggets, visit the stately Governor’s Mansion, saunter through the swinging doors of the historic Red Dog Saloon, or visit mighty Mendenhall Glacier, an impressive river of ice that is 12 miles long and 1.5 miles wide.
Day 16 SKAGWAY
Once a major port for gold prospectors who passed through en route to the Yukon, today you can still ride the antique White Pass & Yukon Route narrow-gauge railway up past Deadhorse Gulch to see what it was like ages ago. Step back in time as you stroll the wooden sidewalks of the town, preserved as a U.S. National Historic Park.
Day 17 SCENIC CRUISING: GLACIER BAY NATIONAL PARK
This Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site protects a unique ecosystem in an ever-changing glacial landscape. Witness the spectacle of thunder and flying spray as huge slabs of ice break off and “calve” into the sea—making for lasting memories. National Park rangers accompany the ship, adding expert commentary to the day’s events.
Day 18 KETCHIKAN
Experience Native Alaska firsthand. Meet the spirits of the raven, whale, and eagle as you view the largest collection of totems in the world at Saxman Totem Park or Totem Bight State Historic Park. Or, explore Creek Street, now home to contemporary art galleries and quaint boutiques.
Day 19 SCENIC CRUISING: INSIDE PASSAGE
Take a second spin through Alaska’s Inside Passage to enjoy the spectacular contrast from wide bays of still waters and barrier islands to narrow waterways edged with towering forested cliffs.
Day 20 VANCOUVER (DISEMBARKATION)
The vacation ends this morning with guests departing on individual schedules. Please schedule flights after Noon.